20 Great Moments from 2017 in Santa Monica

December 21, 2017
by Joseph Vandenorth

20 Great Moments from 2017 in Santa Monica

As people everywhere review the year past to make sense of their own life and the world around them, the City of Santa Monica's Office of Communications took a look at great moments from 2017 in Santa Monica. In reviewing the year, what we found were stories of local heroes like our firefighters who saved dogs through "mouth-to-snout" resuscitation as well as proof of Santa Monica's commitment to creating an inclusive and sustainable community. Below are just 20 of the remarkable moments from the City in 2017. 


Breeze Bike Share Surpasses One Million Miles

Since the City of Santa Monica launched Los Angeles County’s first bike share system in 2015, 80,000 active subscribers have taken more than 628,000 trips, riding more than 1.3 million miles – equivalent to pedaling around the world 53 times. Mayor Ted Winterer shared, “Every time you opt for a bike trip over a car trip, you are reducing carbon emissions, reducing gridlock, and boosting your overall health and wellbeing. Breeze makes biking easy with a station in every pocket of town.”


Santa Monica Fire Department Saves TWO Dogs with Mouth-to-Snout

Photo courtesy of Billy Fernando.

In March, SMFD made international headlines by saving the life of a bichon frise from an apartment fire. Mouth-to-snout saved another larger pup on Halloween. Oxygen was delivered to the canines via a “Pet Oxygen Masks” that all SMFD units carry. We know you love firefighters saving puppies.


Parks Month Brought People Together

This year’s Parks Month celebration focused on the many ways that playing, getting fit, fostering new relationships, and connecting with nature can improve the quality of daily life and wellbeing in Santa Monica. A wide variety of activities were planned for all ages and abilities, including concerts, gardening workshops, a family-friendly outdoor movie screening, and aquatics events for teens and families, just to name a few.


California's First Black Female Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks Retired

Santa Monica Police (SMPD) Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks announced her retirement after 36 years as a law enforcement leader and trailblazer. The City was so sad to see her go, but so proud of her accomplishments. Chief Seabrooks began her career at SMPD as its first African-American woman patrol officer in 1982. When she became chief of the Inglewood Police Department in 2007, she made history again as California’s first African-American woman to serve as police chief for a municipality. Santa Monica was fortunate to welcome back Chief Seabrooks in 2012 when she returned to her roots and took the reins as our chief of police.


Soundwaves Concerts at SMPL

Soundwaves is a monthly concert series presenting artists who appear on the DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) streaming service. The Santa Monica Public Library is the first public library to offer this service to its cardholders. Listings of past and upcoming Soundwaves shows as well as sound and video recordings are at soundwavesnewmusic.com.


Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave for Workers Increase

All workers are now eligible for the City’s increased minimum wage and workers in larger businesses received the second wage increase on the path to $15. The minimum wage increased to $12/hour for larger businesses, $10.50/hour for smaller businesses, and hotel workers’ pay will match Los Angeles’ at $15.66/hour. Paid Sick Leave increases again on January 1, 2018. The wage increases are part of the goal to get all workers to $15/hour by 2020.


COAST Open Streets Festival

On October 1, thousands flooded a two-mile stretch from Main Street to Ocean Avenue looking for an opportunity to explore streets without a car. Check out some of our favorite moments from COAST and save the date for the next COAST on October 7, 2018.


Solar Eclipse Viewing at Virginia Avenue Park

For the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, the Pico Branch of Santa Monica Public Library received a grant to hand out hundreds of eclipse glasses from NASA. It was amazing to share this moment with so many others.


The LA Marathon Finishes in Santa Monica

Once again, Santa Monica serves as the finish line for the LA Marathon, welcoming runners to open views of the Pacific Ocean as they complete their run from Downtown Los Angeles.


Big Blue Bus Introduces Mobile Ticketing

As part of BBB’s commitment to providing a better customer experience, the Token Transit application will evolve fare payment methods and allow customers to purchase and activate BBB passes using their smartphones before boarding the bus.


Katie Lichtig and Anuj Gupta Join the City Manager's Office Executive Team

Assistant City Manager Katie Lichtig and Deputy City Manager Anuj Gupta. Katie returns to the City of Santa Monica to focus on services and operations for the City's departments after serving as City Manager for San Luis Obispo. Anuj recently served as General Counsel to Mayor Eric Garcetti in the Office of Immigrant Affairs and previously worked for the Obama White House. His focus is spearheading the development and implementation of policy initiatives focused on homelessness, wellbeing, and more.


Santa Monica Public Library Earns Five-Star Rating

For the eighth year, Santa Monica Public Library received a five-star rating from Library Journal's Index of Public Library Service. The LJ Index ranked 7,349 public libraries on the level of service they provide by evaluating per capita circulation, visits, program attendance and public Internet computer use. A total of 260 public libraries earned three, four, or the highest, five-star rating.


Woodlawn Cemetery Opens Green Burial Site

Green burials minimize environmental damage because no toxic chemicals, metals, or cement vaults are used. One is buried in a simple wooden casket or in an organic shroud. Eternal Meadow was specifically designed with beautiful California-native wild flowers, plants, and grasses.


Clean Beaches Pilot Project Breaks Ground

The project entails constructing an underground tank capable of collecting up to 1.6 million gallons of stormwater runoff and brackish groundwater, which the City of Santa Monica will treat for non-potable reuse such as irrigation and toilet flushing. By repurposing stormwater and brackish groundwater, the City of Santa Monica could save up to 560 acre-feet of water per year, or the equivalent of 275 Olympic-size pools.


Youth Tech Program Helps Santa Monica Students Launch Five Startups

Out of thousands of high school students in the City of Santa Monica, 30 students were selected to participate in this year’s six week Youth Tech Program. Students learned from City instructors, Silicon Beach startups, and established tech firms.


Median Income Affordable Housing Program

The City's Housing and Economic Development department opened applications for moderate-income households to be considered for deed restricted apartments created through the City’s Affordable Housing Production Program.


Construction Starts on City Services Building

The City Services Building fulfills a vision to bring all core municipal operations into one City Hall campus. As it is designed to be a “Living Building,” it will produce the energy and water it consumes on site and be a model of Santa Monica’s commitment to both fiscal and environmental sustainability.


Santa Monica Commits to Uphold Paris Climate Agreement Goals

The City of Santa Monica and Mayor Ted Winterer joined 61 mayors, representing over 35 million Americans, in standing up for the values and goals of the Paris Agreement. Santa Monica has led on climate action and sustainability for more than 20 years and has more ambitious work to come in the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.


Seismic Retrofit Program Starts

Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved a comprehensive seismic retrofit ordinance that will encompass 20 years of work to increase safety of earthquake-vulnerable buildings in the event of a large quake. Nearly 2,000 commercial and multi-family residential buildings made a list of sites that need to be assessed for possible structural improvement.


Wellbeing Index Releases New Findings

The landmark Wellbeing Index released new findings to help the City identify new programs and services to improve the wellbeing of residents. The findings elevate many great things like 84 percent of residents feel they can trust their neighbors, yet other findings show the need for big improvements in how locals influence government and stay healthy. Learn more at wellbeing.smgov.net.


If you want to jump into 2018 feeling refreshed, consider joining the inaugural Polar Bear Swim at the City's Annenberg Community Beach House on Saturday, December 30. After a quick dip in the Pacific, you can warm up in the heated pool.

Here's to a 2018 full of great memories in our beautiful corner of the world.

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